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Black Christians Say Effects of Slavery Still Felt: Survey

Nearly 80 percent of Black practicing Christians agree that slavery’s effects are ongoing, compared to just 42 percent of their White counterparts who share that view, according to a new survey.

The survey, titled “Where Do We Go from Here?” and commissioned by Barna Group, a 30-year-old nonprofit research firm in California, conversely notes that 34 percent of White practicing Christians say society has moved beyond the history of slavery, compared to nine percent of Black practicing Christians with the same view.

“Churches need to preach on racial issues and return to preach on them again and again,” Rev. Mark Strong of Life Change Church in Portland, Ore., said in in a summary statement of the report.

“This is part of spiritual formation, and like other formation issues — prayer, discipleship, generosity — it demands emphasis and regular, strong teaching,” he said of the report, which includes reflections from other scholars and faith leaders on how Christians can move ahead addressing racism.

Barna, which has become a go-to source for insights about faith and culture, defines practicing Christians as people who said they attended a worship service in the past month and said their faith is very important in their lives.

Barna also found that millennials — defined in its survey as 21- to 35-year-olds — were the group most likely to agree there are continuing effects of slavery, with 65 percent admitting so. The findings for older groups with similar views: Generation X (born 1965 to 1983), 55 percent; boomers (born 1946-1964), 40 percent; and Elders (born before 1946), 41 percent.

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